Custodial Fathers and Child Well-Being: An Initial Look

Spencer James, Pennsylvania State University

Scholarly research on child well-being in various living arrangements has increased over the past 30 years. However, our knowledge of child well-being in custodial father families has lagged behind due to an inability to distinguish between cohabiting and single custodial fathers and a lack of nationally representative data. In this paper, I examine child well-being in biological custodial father families, defined as a family where the biological father is living with at least one of his biological children while the child’s biological mother lives elsewhere. Using data from the National Survey of America’s Families, I find that children of single fathers have better overall health and are more engaged in school than children of married fathers, net of sociodemographic characteristics. Furthermore, I find gender differences in health. Male children living in single custodial father families have better health than females. I conclude by outlining several avenues of future research.

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Presented in Poster Session 7